Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi believes strongly in the power of relationships. He has built several companies from the ground up, including Connected, a professional contact manager that brings contacts and conversations together in one place. LinkedIn acquired Connected in October 2011 and relaunched it as LinkedIn Contacts in April 2013. Rekhi credits his professional relationships for helping to drive his success with start-ups. He notes that 70% of all jobs are found through networking and 90% of people trust recommendations from people they know.
In this, Knowledge@Wharton High School’s first “Career Insight” feature in which an established entrepreneur or executive offers success strategies to high school students, Rekhi addresses overcoming the risk of rejection.
Building relationships comes with great rewards – the rewards include expanding your career success and figuring out [the answer] to your next big decision. But for many, relationship-building has one big risk: The risk of rejection. The risk is that someone [you approach for help] might say, ‘No.’ In honesty, that is no risk at all. Instead, you should take that risk time and time again. There is absolutely no risk in asking for help and being rejected. The people who [build relationships] most effectively are rejected more often than not. They ask 10 people for help and convince only one person to say, ‘Yes.’ People who are not afraid to ask are the ones who survive, succeed and move beyond their comfort zones incredibly well. This is the kind of risk you should always be willing to take because it is no risk at all to be rejected. It is an emotional piece that high school students need to get over.
The other important thing to remember is that a lot of people want to help you. I speak with so many of my peers and colleagues who say that they want to find a way to stay involved and to give back; a way to have an impact beyond what they do in their day jobs. Personally, I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, ‘Because of you, I did not give up.’ I am always talking with people who went to Wharton, people who go to my high school and family friends. We need to help young people realize that it’s not a burden to ask [successful business people] for help. It is in fact something that could really benefit your career. You must get over your fear of rejection and start building relationships.
What does Sachin Rekhi mean when he says that the risk of rejection is no risk at all?
Read the KWHS article linked in the toolbar to the right of this story featuring Sachin Rekhi talking about how relationships build careers. Think of one person you might contact to help your career. How would you go about it? What would you say? Brainstorm and role play with a partner and present your scenario to the class.